The negotiations continued
While it is true that the July 2000 Camp David summit ended without agreement, the negotiations did not end. They restarted and continued until Barak broke them off in January 2001. Since then Israel has refused to enter political negotiations with the Palestinians.
On 19 December 2000, six months after Camp David, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to Washington and continued with negotiations. These negotiations were based on a set of proposals by President Clinton which went beyond Barak’s offer of July 2000, but still fell short of minimum Palestinian expecations. Nevertheless, the Palestinians went on with the talks.
By some accounts these were proving fruitful. The Los Angeles Times reported on 22 December 2000, that:
“Amid signs that the two sides appear to be edging toward some sort of compromise on the emotional issue of Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators worked through the start of the Jewish Hanukkah holiday Thursday expressing a rare shared optimism.”
[Source: Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2000. “Hopeful mood fuels talks on Mideast peace; Negotiations: Israelis, Palestinians work through Jewish holiday as signs surface of a compromise.”]
In January 2001, the talks moved to Taba, Egypt, where they reportedly continued to make progress. They broke off at the end of January, and were due to resume but Barak canceled a planned meeting with Arafat. Shortly thereafter, Barak lost the election to Ariel Sharon, and the talks have never resumed.
The New York Times reported on January 28, 2001:
“Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials concluded nearly a week of stop-and-start negotiations in Taba, Egypt, tonight by saying jointly that they have “never been closer to reaching” a final peace accord but lacked sufficient time to conclude one before the Israeli elections on Feb. 6….. At a joint news conference in Taba, Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami of Israel called the two-way talks, from which the Americans were conspicuously absent, “the most fruitful, constructive, profound negotiations in this phase of the peace process.” He said the two sides hoped to pick up where they left off after the elections — although his boss, Mr. Barak, is expected to lose.”
Source: New York Times, January 28, 2001, “Mideast Talks End With Gain But No Accord.”
So how is it then that all these commentators and Israeli officials continue to deny that talks which the Israeli foreign minister at the time called “the most fruitful, constructive, profound negotiations,” never took place? How is it that so many continue to claim that it was the Palestinians who walked away from the bargaining table when it was Israel that stopped the talks and refuses to resume them?